Followup Form Infopath

Actual template and form creation instructions personal OneNote.

December 19, 2013.  Created in InfoPath 2010 & SharePoint 2013. 


Is it really Christmas?

This year has been full of ups and downs.  None of which I would trade for anything in the world.  A relationship ended and another began.  Health problems but proactive behavior saved me from myself.  I had to say goodbye to a dear friend.  A friend whom I cried weeks about and finally was able to really cry over losing my husband.  My Daisy left me one October day.  I held her as she fell asleep, for the last time, in my arms.  She taught me so much and showed me the love I needed and had so much patience for me.  I will never have another dog like Daisy.  Me being a cat person, I learned that I will not be whole unless I am able to give love to a dog.  After spending Thanksgiving at a friends house with her dogs I knew I needed a dog to help heal my heart.  A lot of people told me to wait and I had plans to wait at least a year, but going home to an empty house after Thanksgiving I knew what I needed. I then spent every waking hour on Craigslist and searching up dogs and what kind of dog I wanted.  I needed a dog to get me off of my ass and out of the house.  I needed a dog that I could accomplish something that I would savor.  I finally decided on a Doberman Pincher.  I went through a breeder and I have already gotten looks of "you couldn't go with a rescue dog could you? ".  Daisy was a rescue and I loved her but she had some issues and we spent a lot of money when we got her.  So why not do what I want and get something that will make me happy. 
Her name is Imperial Delilah Grace.  Her parents have won awards in skill and looks.  I am a proud owner.  Delilah already has me potty trained haha.  Today she finally learned to jump on the couch successfully.   She is so proud.  She hates the leash, but loves peanut butter.   She has already thrown up in my brand new car and I don't care.  I enjoy coming home now, but do not enjoy waking up at 4am.  I love seeing her excited to see me, but I hate when she wakes me up by chewing my hair.  She let's me take naps and she enjoys pestering Calvin.  She is my cure for my drepression.  Since I have had her I have not cried myself to sleep.  Yes it has only been 3 weeks, but I haven't cried.  These past two years I have cried so many nights, regardless of what drugs the doctors gave me,. Delilah has been the perfect perscription.  I just hope I don't go down the rabbit hole as frequently. 


is it possible to feel nothing?

Timing is everything I think. 

Nothing has been in a good place for the past 6 months. I can’t shake myself out of it and I am having a really hard time making sense of it all.

I have no idea what I want to do.

Things are spiraling out of control and I have no one to talk to.

I do not feel happy yet I do not feel sad.  I can't stop crying day and night.  It comes in dramatic spurts. I have tried everything. 


I knew it would take time

I knew it would take time but still

I still get teary eyed at my desk when my phone will ring and I get a bit excited inside.
I cannot watch family movies that have a death in them. I have tried many times, and I get antsy and wind up with anxiety.
I do not look forward to the holidays at all. 
There was a time last year, where everything was good, and I actually bought Halloween candy, cooked a feast at Thanksgiving and looked forward to putting the Christmas tree up.  This year not so much.  I am hoping these two little rascals get me out of my mood and into the holiday spirit. Too many things on my plate right now and it is not fair at all. 

I read things from friends that are going through rough times and I can't even finish reading it.  I always think that time will ease all wounds and doing new things will help ease the pain.  But it doesn't. 

Right now, today I want to pack up my car and move to a town that has internet, fast internet at that, snowy roads and friendly people.  I want to become a hermit and never leave out of that town.

Sad sad sad...


A Morning with Calvin

Calvin doesn't get enough airtime here.  He had a talk with me this morning, in between petting his belliz.

 Hello World I iz your Supreme Master.  Call me Sire Calvinator of Honeckshire.
I haz profile fit for a King.
         I demand food.  NOW
      Iz see my prisoner.  I own her. I run to her often for pets
You take pictures of my bellies.  Rub my belliz.  NOW
I haz an itch
I lick you clean
 Belly... Now....
I lub my ping pong balls


I was lying in bed last night and as soon as I realized what I realized I sat up.










I laid back down slowly as I absorbed what I just realized


I felt it all the way to my core



I had no one to tell all of my secrets to.  Sure, I could start talking to Calvin the Cat, but he is so opinionated and selfish that I would be more wishy washy than I already am.  I always spoke to Daisy, who would look at me with her eyes, as if to say, “You have got to be kidding me”  Calvin just looks at me and says F*ck You!!!


My Daisy, My Hero

If you have a dog, you know what an amazing heart they have.  They know when you are sick, sad or in need of some love.  They know when you need them and they know when it is okay to leave you,
Miss Daisy came into our lives in 2003.  She was a rescue dog who was abused in her former home.  She was instantly loved by our family, loved and spoiled.  We had to go through an extensive interview process and the rescue group had to visit our home and meet the entire family.
The very first day we brought her home, Grams (Brian’s Grandmother) named her.  It was either Lily or Daisy, because the dog reminded Grams of a ray of sunshine, it was spring, when new things are born and grams loved her flowers. 

I taught Miss Daisy how to sit, the first few hours we owned her.  She wanted to please us terribly, or she just wanted another cookie.  She was a smart dog and knew who loved her, or rather knew the hand that fed her.  I would like to say, she loved me the most, because I always gave her snacks and a warm spot on the bed, but she loved each person of the family in her own way and for her own reasons.  She knew when and where she was needed and that was where you would find her.
The first year with us she went through the same trials and tribulations as a young toddler would.
Eating of the furniture and shoes, getting into the trash cans, barking at the vacuum cleaner and brooms was just a smidge of her daily activities. 

When we would leave for work she would scour through Boy Wonder’s bedroom looking for snacks, then she would raid the trash can thinking that there was something in there her nose would be thankful for.  Next, she would then high tail it to the bathroom and see what kind of mess she could make out of a roll of toilet paper.  After all of that she would then settle down with one of my leather shoes and chomp away.

We would come home, and each time the same scenario would take place, Daisy would roll over on her back, with her ears laid down and tell us everything she did wrong and how very sorry she was.  We would later on say that her stomach was made of steel.

You might ask why we didn’t crate her.  We crated her during the day, when we were at work, but when we would leave for a few minutes we would allow her to stay out to test the waters so to speak.  All of this mayhem would occur in the span of 15 minutes.  Those of you with dogs of your own know exactly what I mean.  She had the best intentions of being well behaved, but then her nose got in the way.
We took her to puppy school, where she learned to sit, heal, lay and come with the best of them.  She wanted to make us so proud of her.  She was the best in her class, then we would take her home and she would jump on her couch and demand that we sit, fetch and lay for her. 
We took her camping once, and found out she was allergic to the grass, scared of the dark and claustrophobic.  Hence to say, we left the campground early the next morning and never went camping again.

We took her to a Doggie Park in the area and she would foam at the mouth and the other dogs would literally scare the poop out of her.  She was happy to run around with the other dogs, but was more content sitting with us on the couch eating popcorn and pizza bones.  We would take her sporadically through her puppy years, but she would never be far away from us and was ready to go home as soon as we said “Home Daisy”  She much rather enjoyed long walks around the neighborhood smelling everything in her path, marking every other thing in the path and never wanted to go home, unless there was a cookie involved. 

We always had to keep her on her leash though.  She, more often than not, let her nose do the walking.

She was a lover, a cuddler but if you were a postman, UPS or stranger she would run to the door and bark, snarl and growl like she was going to rip someone’s head off.  Once she got outside, all she wanted was to have people say hello to her, accept her licks and pet her belly.  Once she got outside and bolted towards a lovely older lady that lived in the neighborhood.  She was so scared by Daisy’s intent of, “Plowing into the old lady and jumping on top of her while licking her to death, that lady was so scared that she jumped on a car and cursed at us in a foreign language.  Daisy only wanted to lick the older lady and be petted.  Daisy thought everyone loved her and she was the center of their universe.  Daisy had the best neighbors.  Daisy would be allowed outside when she got older without a leash and she would make her rounds to Angie’s house, then to Cheryl’s house and then to whomever was living next door to us.  She knew that she was loved by many people in the neighborhood.

Daisy lived for road trips.  If it was a trip to Buffalo or to the 7-11 down the street, Daisy would run around the house in circles letting everyone know that she was going Bye Bye and she was going to smell the world and she was going to get snacks and smell the world.  It took several minutes for her to get her collar on.  Yeah, she could have been trained better, but then she wouldn’t have been Daisy.  We were trained to adapt to her and we didn’t mind one bit.  When driving to Buffalo NY she would settle in on the back seat and smell the smells and sleep until we got to Breezewood.  We would then take her for a walk where she had to smell out, as well as leave her own calling card.  She was the best travelling dog and I loved being able to take the whole family on road trips.  As soon as we turned the corner for Mom’s house Daisy would get all alert and excited knowing she was almost to her favorite grandma’s house.  She would bolt out the door, up the stairs and knock Jo off her feet with her love for her.  One thing about Daisy, she was a bed whore.  She loved sleeping under the covers and on a pillow.  Never matters what bed she slept in, she would make the rounds to everyone’s bed and find the most comfortable one and sleep there all night.  Of course by the time you woke up in the morning, the dog coveted more of the bed that you did. 

She eventually grew out of the chewing stage and we started letting her out more and more, until the day we replaced the crate with her bed.  She loved her bed and would sleep there while we were at work, then greet whomever came home first, thousands of licks, sniffs and tail wagging like she hadn’t seen us in days.  She loved being around people and would make herself at home on whomever’s lap was the closest.  She had her routines that she kept until the end.  She would wake up in the morning, stay on my bed until I got out of the shower, go outside, and taking the cat with her.  Then upstairs where she would plant herself on a specific rug until I came upstairs and gave her a cookie.  She would then always meet us at the door when we would come home.  Her bed was in the center of the living room, because she needed to know what was going on with everyone and she wanted to see everything.  She would greet me when I would come home from the grocery store like she hadn’t eaten in weeks.  She knew when I brought bags home and she had a treat in one of those bags.  She just had to find out which bag.  She loved to eat and would eat until she got sick.  Once while picking up Grams for Christmas Eve in 2003, Mother was in charge of Daisy while we drove to Grams house to fetch her.  When we returned mom was exasperated.  Daisy somehow managed to get a tray from the kitchen table that was covered with Sumer Sausage and a variety of cheese and crackers.  Suffice to say, that was the first time I saw a dog with a “Doggy Hangover”.

She would watch TV with me on the couch, or jump up on the recliner with Brian, inching her butt into his spot little by little until she had more of the chair than he did.  He was often found napping in the chair right next to Daisy, both of them snoring away.  When Daisy would sit with me she had this spot in the nook of my leg, where she could place her head on my thigh and her stomach was available for my fingers to rub. 

Daisy had to have knee surgery right before Brian died.  When she came home we would take turns sleeping with her and making sure she got to rehab and did everything the doctor told us to do.  When Brian died, she was still limited on what she could do.  I still took her to the beach and she got to experience the ocean for the first time.  She had a blast and I could see her smiling, because I was smiling at her.  The next year she was diagnosed with cancer and had to have her leg removed.  Bryant and I talked to the doctor many times about the procedure and how she would fare off afterwards, since she was already 10 years old.  The doctor insisted everything would be fine and given Daisy’s puppy attitude the doctor was right.  I know in my heart that she knew that she could not leave me yet.  I wasn’t ready to be on my own and I couldn’t handle another heartbreaking loss.  Daisy healed up nicely and took to 3 legs like pie.  I started spoiling her even more, given her human food, more car rides and carrying her when her legs couldn’t carry her anymore.  I realized that we took turns carrying each other. 

Daisy and I had a special relationship.  She was always there for me.  When I was sick she would never leave me.  She would plop herself on top of the covers with me on the couch and would stay there unless she had to go outside.  When I went for minor surgery she stayed by my side.  When I had major surgery and came home, she stayed next to me on the couch.  When Brian died, she stayed by my side every day and night. She would watch me when we laid in bed, not worried about where her daddy went, but worried about her mommy.  She would lick away my tears and put her head on my stomach.  We would grieve for hours together and she never left my side.  She would eat when I got up to eat and she would just comfort me without saying a single word.  She stayed with me, no matter how crazy I got or how many times I moved the furniture.  When I would start moving around furniture she would just sit on the couch and watch me,  I am sure she found some of this amusing.  As if to say, “Oh no moms moving the furniture again, she obviously needs to change her meds.”  She never judged me or ridiculed me for the choices and decisions I made.  Even when I brought home two more dogs, Daisy just gave me a “Really Mom?” look.  She was my rock and she knew I needed her.  After Brian died the first two years I was a mess as most of you know. Daisy stuck by me as I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up, she stayed there when I couldn’t sleep or when my sleeping schedule was so out of whack that I didn’t even know what day it was.  She was there when I went through a menagerie of jobs, trying to find that 1 perfect job.  She knew that she could not leave me yet.  I was floundering and she was determined to see me grow and flourish.  She saw me hit rock bottom and pick myself up, she gave me kisses when I felt like a failure.  She was my hero.

She got sick quickly, after an eye infection clearing up she started coughing and not eating as much.  These past few days, she slept more, her breathing became more labored and she stopped meeting us at the door.  She wasn’t able to keep anything down and she was sad.  She couldn’t even eat her cookies.  She slept in my bed that last night, I was up every hour checking on her, making sure she was comfortable.  She would lick my hand, as if to reassure me that she was okay.
Even when I was holding her as she lay, falling asleep for the last time in my arms, she still had a wag in her tail and for a moment her puppy ears perked up.  She was telling me it was okay to let her go.  She did her job and ensured that I had made it through.  I had been at my job for a month and I think she knew it was a perfect fit for what I needed and she knew how much I loved my job.  She knew Bryant was doing well and making something for himself.  She knew that I was finally beginning to heal from losing Brian and she knew that I was going to finally be okay. 

She held out much longer than anyone thought she could.  She was waiting for me to be okay.  I found out that with the cancer that she had a few years ago, most dogs do not live as long as she did when diagnosed.  The vet told me that she must have been very well cared for in order for her to live as long as she did. 

In all reality I was well taken cared for by her.

She is and always will be my hero.


I would give a lifetime for a moment more

When I first met you, I noticed your eyes. They were blue and intense.
When I first talked to you, I noticed your smile. your smile was natural and you had dimples.
When I first was kissed by you, I noticed myself melting.
When you first held me close, I noticed time standing still.
When we married, I knew I wanted you for the rest of my life.
When I said I wanted to die a day before you, so I did not have to live without you in my life, I meant it. You kissed me and proceeded to discuss our son or daughters latest antics.

Throughout the years I felt very special and we were always close. Yes, we had our times but I would be more worried if we did not argue and yell. Each of us, being hard headed would not let the other person win, regardless of who was right or wrong. I loved the passion that I felt with you. Passion with work, home, family, love, and me, you always had so much to give. I loved the new experiences I had with you. Las Vegas, camping, flying to Buffalo, moving cross country, skiing, New Orleans, Jack in the Box after The Library. I remember seeing you in your Senior Chief uniform (swoon) then in your officer uniform (swoon again)! You would change your shoulder boards so often I could not keep up with the advancements. You were amazing in the military. I knew you missed it so much.
I feel all of these memories and try my best to remember more.

For that is all I have now.

The smell of your shaving cream.
Me scaring you in the shower.
The smell of your cologne.
The smell of your deodorant, which I did not like at all, but would give my soul to smell it on you again.

When I last saw you on Sunday, I was upset with you, but seeing you trying to sit up and talk to me, was enough for me to come over and kiss you goodbye. I came back and gave you another kiss and tried to be short with you when I told you to have crabs for breakfast. I then left you for the week.

Every night we talked and we said, "Goodnight and I love you". Each night I went to bed, content and thinking of you, a bit sad that I had a huge bed with a million pillows to myself. I was anxious to finish the week and meet you down south for a weekend of fun, friends and an amazing time.

I am mad at times, wondering why you had to go. We had so many plans

Did you know??????

Did you know that Lorton, Virginia is named for a village in England? It is the hometown of Joseph Plaskett, who settled in this area running a general store and opened the post office in 1875. Did you know that the Lorton Reformatory detained 168 women from the women’s suffrage movement from the Washington DC area from June to December of 1917? Did you also know that Lorton was where the Nike Missile site was built in 1955? This missile site stayed in Lorton until the 1970’s.

A couple more great landmark Plantations on the Potomac in Lorton are the Belvoir Plantation, (means beautiful view) and Gunston Hall homes to Lord George Fairfax and George Mason respectively. The idea of guaranteed individual rights grew in the fertile minds on the river banks of the Lorton area. The American Heritage was cultivated in Lorton and Virginia.

On the tip of Mason Neck you can find a few Bald Eagles. Mason Neck NWR was established in 1969 for the protection of nesting, feeding, and roosting habitat for the Bald Eagles. It was the first federal refuge established specifically for the (then endangered) Bald eagle. The refuge is part of the Potomac River NWR Complex.
The refuge, situated along the Potomac River on the Mason Neck peninsula, consists of 2277 acres of oak-hickory forest, freshwater marshes, and has 4.4 miles of shoreline. The refuge has the largest fresh water marsh in Northern Virginia, the largest Great Blue heron rookery in the Mid-Atlantic region (over 1400 nests), is a designated RAMSAR site, and hosts over 200 species of birds, 31 species of mammals, and 44 species of reptiles and amphibians.

Eagles use the mature forests for shelter and nesting sites and the marshes, bays, and river for foraging and hunting. The refuge was listed as one of the top ten sites in the country for viewing Bald eagles.

Hurdles that affect everyone

I have them, just like everyone else.

I have hurdles that I do not think I can overcome.

I need to get back to work.  I have taken off more than enough time to do what I need to and now that I played around with teaching and know t is  not my cup of tea right now, I need to look at other options.  I feel that I have had more jobs in the past year than I have had my entire life.  I just cant find my niche. 

I miss Brian at times like these.  He would keep me on the straight an narrow and encourage me to succeed as best as I could.

I need that strength again.
I appear weak, when I am not.

Oh I miss you so much sometimes, it just kills me inside.



Right from the start
You were a thief
You stole my heart
And I your willing victim
I let you see the parts of me
That weren't all that pretty
And with every touch you fixed them



People talk to me about what I have written in the past and they always say nice, encouraging things to me.  I enjoy talking with them when I have something of significance to write about.  When I am just pulling stuff from my brain to write about, I tend to forget the significance of what my writings will have on other people. 
I am glad that I have an effect on people, in my close circle as well as from people around the United States.  I once received an email from a lady in Oregon who lost their spouse and she was reading my blog and learned my husband died, and related when I talked about mowing the lawn for the first time, how I just sat in the middle of the yard and bawled, yet nothing else brought me to tears.  It is sometimes the small things that have the most profound effect on a person. 
It's almost been two years, and I am at a standstill.  I have no energy to do anything.  I am going to stay in town and mourn him in my own way.  I still have his ashes, the waiting list for Arlington is long and I want everything done right and to the tune of perfection, because that is the way he would have wanted it.  I am not ready to close the door on that part of my life.  By moving his ashes, a part of me will be going with him.  I am not so sure if that is a good thing or not.  I am not ready to deal with those thoughts or feelings.  I enjoy having him around, but not so sure if it is a good thing for my mental health.  No one knows the answers to these things and once he is gone, it's not like I can have him back LOL.  I need to make sure I am ready to do it. 
I received an email from a person, who I have never talked to, in California.  We exchanged emails and talked in confidence of the importance of remembering a spouse and how to move on without harboring such a large amount of guilt.  She read when I would talk about dating and the turmoil I felt with that and how I would keep those feelings to myself and not share them with anyone.  Most of the feelings were of guilt and shame.  If you don't know already I have another blog that I had talked in detail of these issues but did not share them on here because I know many friends and family read this blog and sometimes I enjoy being able to talk to people who do not know who I am .  It makes a lot of what I am dealing with easier.  I can be whomever I want to be and not have to worry about being judged as soon as I walk into a place where I know people.  I enjoy being anonymous and it really helps at times to clear my head.  Anyways, this lady from CA and I talked and she moved from Florida to California to get a fresh start in life about 14 months ago.  Like me, her circle of friends revolved around her husband and it was hard for her to move on and become her own person when people expected her to be the same person she was when she was married.  I totally related to her.  We talked for months.  I found out last week that she passed away.  Her daughter said that she died of a broken heart.  I found out from her daughter that the wife was married for 45 years to her spouse and when she moved to CA she was closer to her children and grandchildren but she never really left the house alone.  I learned that she spent a lot of time online with people that she met and she spoke of me to her daughter often.  Amazing what a few words can do to someone who you do not even know.  I can't imagine what her daughter is going through.  I expressed words of kindness, what else could I have done?
I will always remember that words, no matter who speaks them, affects people you don't even know.  I am honored to have known this person and am thankful that she emailed me when she did.


Poetry from my son

I watched closely as the shooting star,
made me think of how great you are,
It goes through the nightsky,
And shows me I am one lucky guy,
It goes behind the moon and hides,
To conceal it's feelings behind closed eyes,
The moon begins to fall,
Behind the earths large wall
The sun shows up and brightens the day,
But all the good thoughts go away,
It shows the outer beauty of you,
But at night you see the inner beauty which is true,
I was surprised to know you want me,
Because I thought another guy was higher up in the tree,
Thinking you would see him before me
But it ends up me being your baby, I could never harm a girl as kind,
Honest, Loving and always comes to mind,
Walking through the woods,
Shows me life cannot be this good,
But it ends up showing dreams can be true
And now we are held together with glue,
You make my mind spin by day and turn at night and gives me the thoughts to determine what's right,
You have me spinning by a thread, I get dizzy and fall on my bed,
And close my eyes to cleanse my head,
And hope I will never be dead,
Then I open one eye
To glance at the nightsky,
To see another shooting star,
And live the life of someone so far

I Was THAT Person

Proud of it too...

Okay so after Brian died I wanted to go places where no one knew me, no one gave me those funny looks and where I could do whatever I wanted because... well because I could.

I went to the Blue Ridge Mountains for a photo trip.  The trip was organized by a photographer that I found on Facebook, no I did not troll around on Craigslist.  He seems to know what he was doing and I thought this would be the perfect chance to get away and learn something about my camera and meet some new people. 

I scheduled the trip and each time I spoke with the group leader on the phone he sounded weird.  I don't want to label people, but he was an Odd Thomas.  I was scared but I also knew I had a safe hotel room and I had my car so I could leave if I needed to... which I did, but more on that later...

So I start my long drive to Pigeon Forge, by leaving my house at 5 am.  The drive was amazing and since it was light out, I didn't stress out too much about deer.  Everything was green and the drive was pretty much uneventful. 

I get lost of course, those of you who know me well know me!!  It was a simple *cough* mistake, I just transposed the numbers of the address to the hotel and I wandered into a hotel who had no idea who I was. 


So I find my hotel and find out that the group leader put us all together so we can chat and get to know each other.  Hmm, okay.

Thank god I brought my own coffee pot.

I unpack and knew I had a few hours to kill before the first photo op and I needed a nap.  I get all comfy and cozy and then the knocking started on my door.  Mr Group Leader found out I was the first one there, and was all excited to see how grumpy I am when someone wakes me up.  I open the door was immediately accosted by saliva.  As soon as he started talking it flew.  I made up my mind right then and there that I was not sitting next to him at any restaurant. 

Now, I am only poking fun and people because of the state of emotion I was in at the time. 

So he starts talking and I am too busy dodging bullets that I had to have him repeat what he said, which was to keep an eye out for the others, yea instead of napping I don't think so.   I told him I would after my nap and shut the door promptly, because I was going to be that person.  I went to lay down and of course couldn't fall back to sleep.  So then I was on the computer and peeking through the window to get sneak peeks of the others that were in the group. 

The first man I saw walked with a cane. Now we are in the mountains, I brought two pair of hiking boots and I know that there are bears out there, so the need to run fast was an asset.  I gave the gentleman the benefit of the doubt and thought maybe he was using a walking stick as a tripod...
Me and my bright ideas.. heh

I went outside to introduce myself, and he told me his name, which I forgot, and then he told me he was afraid of heights as well and he would have to not go when we visited some peak for sunset photo's  I was like umm okay.  We talked, and everything went in one ear and out the other, but I managed to escape into my room until the next people came.  There were 6 of us in all so the small group made for some great photography instruction..

While everyone was getting ready for the first photo shoot, I was busy assessing everyone up.  I figured that I would meet some great people on the trip from across the United States and I was right.  But, I didn't have a hankering to make plans to visit any of them.  We all packed up the van, climbed in, and proceeded to a close photo op.  I sat in the back so I could watch all of the interactions with each other and determine how I was going to present myself.  I could be whomever I wanted, and I was planning on taking full advantage of it.  I was already labeled the person who was late to the very first trip, I was talking to a girlfriend back home, telling her about all of the personalities and I looked out my window to see almost everyone inside of the van.  I hurriedly made my way to the group. I could have made a million excuses but like them I was excited and wanted to get on the road, so I clammed up and was good for the time being. 

The 4 hour long shoot was amazing, I learned more about my camera in those  4 hours than I had the entire time I owned the camera.  I was also the person who had to borrow a tripod.  Who, yes tell me who forgets their tripod on a photo trip??  Yep, that's me.  I would up going into town to purchase more batteries for my camera and purchased a tripod, instead of having Bryant overnight mine to the hotel. 

We all ate dinner together and we talked about what we did for a living and how we got into photography.  There was no need to let them all know I was a widow, it was nice being around people who didn't know, and who did not give me the looks.  I didn't need or want the looks on this trip.  I wanted to be Jessica. 

Part 2 - to be continued  (I started this post almost a year ago, it's about time I finish telling my stories)


Moving Forward

I have been in a haze for the past few weeks that I can only compare to when Brian died.  Over the past year I have loved and cared about someone and it ended.  It was my first love after Brian and I experienced many firsts with this person.  He made me happy when no one else could and he also could make me very mad at a moments notice.  Sounds like any other relationship huh?
I had a hard time letting go, I was devastated.  I almost felt the same as when Brian died.  Not as intense but clearly a mile marker for me. 
I had work to keep me busy and threw myself into it and was never home.  I finally broke all ties with him and I am starting to lift myself up with ease.  I no longer look at my phone longing someone to call me.  I make the calls to the friends that I have.  Does it make sense that I don't want this person to leave my life yet I cannot stand to talk to him right now?  I do not hate him, that is not the reasoning behind this.  I just couldn't get over him.  Odd for me since I never let anyone in to begin with.  I think dating should be having fun and getting to know someone.  I need to casually date, see what is out there and start healing.  I don't think dating so soon after Brian died helped either.  I was still a mess a year after he died, and I always think of him and what we would be doing right now and how perfect our lives would be.  Everything was so perfect when he left that I couldn't have imagined anything better.  There were so many years that we struggled, fought, lived apart and disliked each other, and we strove to work it out and become the people that fell in love 12 years ago.  After everything that we had been through, it was finally working.  We knew what we needed to give each other and what we needed to do to make "it" work.  I never in my life worked that hard for anything.  I can say it was all worth it.  I also wonder if anyone will be worthy of that struggle and hard work.  I need to stop questioning everyone's motive and live for me.
Today I am very happy and yesterday and I was happy as well.  I do not know what tomorrow will bring but I am at the point where I desire to be the strong person and do something that makes me want to be happy. 

I was selected as a finalist in a magazine short essay of "What is the bravest thing you have done"  It hits home, but has a lot of my story of falling in love again.  It will hurt to read it but I am so lucky to have had the chance at love and experience so many new and exciting things that I can only smile about it and shed a tear or two and then buck up and start on the next phase of my life.


Awake Way Too Late

I have experienced many transititions in life.  My son is 20 years old and I no longer view him as someone I need to mold and define the world around him.  I lost a partner in life and I am working on trying not to let that define me.  I quit my job in order to experience a life full of discoveries which were stagnant since I have had to work every day since I was 15. 
I am ready to move on and start defining my own life. To start the next phase of my life

I am still at a crossroads of what I want to be when I grow up. To teach or not to teach, that is the question. 
I have so much that I want to pass on to our children and I have a lot of love to give students who crave some sort of adult support.  I look at children today and think to myself, if I had 15 minutes with this child what would I say to that child.  How would I phrase the future to him in which it would grab his attention and make him start to think of his own future and realize that each decision he makes will affect the outcome of his own life?  What would I say to this child that would have such a profound effect on their life to where they could change their destiny and help them become a better man or a woman?  These are the questions I ponder late at night.

I want to make a difference.
I want to be the difference in a childs life.


Trapped in a Bubble

Things dont always seem like they appear.  Like the message that is posted on car mirrors, "objects may appear larger than they really are". 


10 Things I would tell my 16 yr old self

Things I would tell my 16yr old self

1. That guy with the cool Nissan truck… will be bald and broke in 10
2. Stay after class and talk to Coach Al.
3. Stay away from the frizzy perms.
4. Invent Facebook.
5. No matter how thin you are, no one looks good in white leggings.
6. Don’t burn all of your bridges.
7. Demand braces.
8. Wear sunscreen all of the time.
9. Remember everyone you meet. 
10. Do not agree to sell the chocolates!


Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, there was a little girl. This little girl was not a bad girl, for children are never bad.  This little girl wanted to be perfect.  She wanted to be a good girl so her mother would stop beating her.  The little girl wanted her mother to treat her like a princess, that she would read about in books. 

The little girls parents were divorced and her father never came to see her.  Every weekend the little girl would wait by the steps for her father to come and rescue her from her mother.  The father never showed up, and the little girl would cry her eyes out.  She was certain that her father did not love her, because the little girl was not perfect.  She wanted so much to be perfect. 

The mother drank a lot and when she went out drinking she would leave the little girl alone.  Sometimes the little girl was scared and often she would sneak to watch the television or play alone in her room. Often her mother came home late and when she did, she would wake up the little girl and would proceed to yell, and beat her so bad that she could not go to school the next day.  This would make the little girl very sad because she loved school. The teachers there would never hurt her or called her names.  The little girl loved school and would always try to stay as long as she could so she didn't have to go home.

As the little girl grew she went through a lot.  She often stole food in order to survive and would also lie to her mother.  She tried to be good, she really did.  She never knew why she would lie or steal and would always get caught and she never knew why she did it.  She never knew that there was something wrong with her on the inside and she had no control over it. 

When the little girl was in high school she often ran away from home. During the summer she would disappear for the entire summer without calling her mother.  She would find other friends who took care of her and were nice to her.  She learned what a real family was as well as real friends.  The little girl never stayed in contact with the friends that she made.  She never wanted them to know the hell that she really lived in or know about her past.  She wanted a fresh start where no one knew how bad she really was.  The little girl loved the summers and was always at the beach outside.  The scars from her cutting herself would disappear and she wouldn't have to wear long sleeved shirts all of the time. 

When she went back home nothing was said and she would continue to go to school. When her mother would drink and she would take out her aggressions on the girl, the girl would go into the bathroom and find the razor blades she had hid and start cutting herself.  The pain that she felt was like a drug and it was very warm and inviting.  Nothing else mattered in her life at that moment and the pain would trump everything else going on in her life.  She had to put all of her thoughts on the pain and the feeling at that moment that everything else seemed so small in comparison.  This made her cut more and soon she was wearing long sleeves again.  The girl would then start cutting her legs.  For some reason it wasn't the same as the arms and hands.  The feet were a good place for cutting and the pain would last longer. The mother never noticed and never knew.  The girl also controlled what she ate and would always get rid of the food, hiding it in her room or under her bed.  The girl would forget about it and her mother would find it and then make her eat it.  The girl then started throwing it up after she ate.  She had this down to a science and it was much easier than hiding the food.  She never got too skinny but between working, sports and being out of the house she was able to hide her problem as well as have places where she could go to purge in private. 

The girl was finally able to go live on her own as long as she was working and going to school.  The cutting stopped for a long time because she was not under her mothers control.  She was able to relax and do what she wanted to do.  She still stole things though.  She got the same high from stealing as she did from cutting.  She never got caught stealing.  Most of the time it was only food that she stole, which was silly because she would eat it then get rid of it.  Kind of pointless, but the girl was in it for the high she felt. 

When the girl graduated from high school she threw away all of her furniture and went to live at the beach as she did every summer.  There were no cell phones or pagers so no one knew where she was.  The girls mother tried to call the police to track her down but with the girls track record of running away, the police never did anything to try and find the girl.  The girl started to drink a lot.  She never thought that she would like alcohol because of what it did to her mother, but the girl would drink fifths of whiskey straight until she just blacked out.  It was a way to escape, so obviously there were still demons trying to chase her.  She also started doing drugs, which gave her a different high than the cutting or stealing but for some reason the drugs, mostly speed and acid made her calmer and able to deal with life. 
The girl would just either sleep on the beach, shack up with people that she met or just not go to sleep that night.  She often would find jobs at the local pizza places on Grand and be able to keep a job while partying.  It was funny though, she would meet complete strangers who would welcome her in, yet one of the owners of the pizza place where she worked at took advantage of her and assaulted her.  She never went back to that pizza place.  She did tell a few people what happened .  A few months later there was a fire at the building.  The girl often wondered if her friends had something to do with that, but she never asked.  The last summer at the beach was her most frightening one.  She was staying with one of her friends in a room above a liquor store/taco shop.  Many of you who know Pacific Beach know where I am referencing.  The person she was staying with was a dealer and very paranoid.  Once they locked all of the girls stuff in a closet and locked her in the room until they returned.  The girl was able to get away that night and never looked back.  Every time the girl sees an El Camino she often wonders what ever happened to them.  The girl was a wreck by then and needed to sleep for a long time.  She moved back home and told her mother she was cleaning up and getting out of town.  The girl slept for a week, once she was back on her feet she started working again.  She was starting to find herself.
The girl was still lost on the inside, and did not know where to go.  She didn't like the person that she was turning into.  She could not find the high that she craved from cutting or stealing. She began using drugs...One day, the girl didn't have any drugs so she found a razor and proceeded to cut her arm lengthwise and she bled to death.

Kids don't just do things to piss their parents off... sometimes they really don't know why they are fucked up.  Don't give up on them.  Turns out that this little girl was Bipolar and no one knew until the medical doctor questioned the mother. 

By the way, this is a true story. 

Wordless Wednesday Not (1-9-13)

Wishing... hah